ICA present Mary Ellen Bartley: Looking Between the Covers

Mary Ellen Bartley: Looking Between the Covers – June 5 – September 4; Opening Reception June 5, 2-4pm

Mary Ellen Bartley, The Edge of Vision, 2010, From the series Standing Open, Pigment prints on rag paper, 18 x 27 inches, Courtesy of the Artist and Yancey Richardson Gallery, NY

Mary Ellen Bartley, The Edge of Vision, 2010, From the series Standing Open, Pigment prints on rag paper, 18 x 27 inches, Courtesy of the Artist and Yancey Richardson Gallery, NY

Mary Ellen Bartley’s photographs explore the materiality of the printed book – the formal qualities of the paper, the binding, the spine, the cover and the color.

Bartley has always had an affinity for books. They have served as an important way for her to learn and think about art. Inspired by the 2008 retrospective of Morandi, the Italian painter and printmaker known for the tonal subtlety of his still lifes, Bartley was moved to find a still life project that she could work on for an extended period of time.

Looking Between the Covers includes work from three still life series made between 2009 and 2012. The muted colors and delicate use of light in her Paperbacks series reflect Bartley’s minimalist sensibility. She has purposefully chosen not to title the images so that the subject of the book does not distract the viewer. She has used a wide palette of “whites,” from light grey to pale blue, in order to create “something quiet.” The dark and ominous colors of her Blue Book series create a sense of mystery and sadness. As the painter Ross Bleckner commented, these images reflect both presence and absence. They are beautifully enigmatic and foreboding. The works in Standing Open mark a departure from the minimalist tendencies in Bartley’s earlier work.

San Jose Institute of Contemporary Art
560 South First Street
San Jose, CA 95113
Tel: 408.283.8155
Fax: 408.283.8157
http://sjica.org/detail.html?eid=1176

Top